Protesters attempt to breach Iraqi parliament for second time

Supporters of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr protest against corruption inside the parliament building in Baghdad, Iraq on July 27, 2022

The protesters are ostensibly angry over the nomination of Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani, Iraq’s former minister of Labor and Social Affairs, who is seen to be a candidate for pro-Iran parties.

Protesters supporting Muqtada al-Sadr have tried to enter Baghdad’s Green Zone, days after they entered it earlier this week. They are trying to get to the parliament building. This comes months after Sadr ordered his own parliamentarians to withdraw from the legislature.

Iraq lacks a new government, and Sadr enjoys a large amount of support in the country but has been frustrated in attempts to help form a government – and has seen pro-Iran parties take advantage of the chaos.

The protesters are ostensibly angry over the nomination of Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani, Iraq’s former minister of Labor and Social Affairs. He is seen to be a candidate for the country’s pro-Iran parties.

But there is more to this – they also accuse him of corruption. For several years, Iraq has been affected by massive protests. In 2019, an Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi resigned after massive protests, in which demonstrators were killed by pro-Iran. Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s current prime minister, has tried to bring stability to the beleaguered country. 

Iraq's issues

Iraq suffers from many problems. It has economic problems and the environment has been damaged through mismanagement. Turkey has been cutting off water flow to Syria and Iraq, causing drought. There is also a dispute between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan region over energy sales and revenues.

Iran uses Iraq to traffic weapons to Syria. Turkey is often bombing northern Iraq, killing civilians in a war it claims to be fighting against “terrorists.”

Kadhimi has tried to repair Baghdad’s ties with Damascus and host Saudi-Iran discussions, as well as reaching out to the Gulf and Egypt. But the role of Iran and Turkey has weakened Iraq’s government.  

The current protests broke out last week and have continued through the weekend. The government has set up concrete barriers in an attempt to control the protests; reports say the government has used water cannons.

In addition, Nouri Al-Maliki, leader of the pro-Iran Islamic Dawa Party, was photographed waving around an M-16, illustrating that the whole affair could lead to bloodshed. 

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